The Sounds and Songs of Moscow

Do you ever stand still in a city, close your eyes, and simply sense? What do you hear? What do you smell? Are you cold, is there a breeze, are you holding someone’s hand? This is one of my favorite exercises to do when I go to an unfamiliar place, or when I want to defamiliarize a familiar place. Unfortunately, I am unable to digitally capture all five senses, so here is a compilation of my favorite sounds in Moscow. Sounds too subtle for my brave little iPhone – footsteps in the Pushkin Museum, cars swishing by on the bridge over Park Kultury, echoing laughter that travels up the walls of MGU, conversations in different languages layering on top of each other in Red Square – will have to remain only in my memory.

Please close your eyes when listening to each clip. Feel the train rumbling beneath your feet and the scrunching in your toes as you try to balance. Sense the vibration of air that weaves between crowds of people around you. Touch the smooth, cool marble walls of the tunnel. Moscow has an energy like no other city, and I share this with you in hopes that you feel its energy too.


Train from Moscow arriving in Vladimir:


Metro car stopping at Frunzenskaya Station, with Moscow’s famous “Ostorozhno, dveri zakryvayutsya” – “Caution, the doors are closing”:


Busking in the passage between Ohotny Ryad and Teatralnaya metro stations:


Chistiye Prudy neighborhood on a sunny afternoon:


Easter 1 – this song is sung for “Krestny hod”, the religious procession taking place during Russian Orthodox Easter celebrations. This clip was taken during an Easter midnight mass on April 8th, but I have heard the song in various religious spaces since then. The loudest male voice is the priest:


Easter 2 – also taken during midnight mass, singing about Christ rising:


Music in the crowd above Sparrow Hills before the fireworks on Victory Day, May 9th, which celebrates the Russian victory over the Nazis. A slightly drunken affair:


Out for a nighttime walk through Sparrow Hills:

Article written by jonlinc

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